What is an ALS?
An Administrative License Suspension (ALS) typically happens in a DUI case where either you refuse to take a test pursuant to the Implied Consent law or you take the test and test above a specified BAC (see Implied Consent blog post below). The officer fills out a Department of Driver Services (DDS) form 1205 and usually takes your physical license.
But can't I request a hearing?
Once you get your 1205, you have 10 days to file for an administrative hearing or the license will be suspended automatically. The form for a DDS hearing is found on the DDS website [ http://www.dds.ga.gov/docs/forms/HearingRequestForm.pdf ]. Requesting a hearing costs $150.00 and must be paid up-front. It is best to either fill out this form with an attorney or simply have your attorney fill it out for you - making a serious mistake in filling out this form may result in it being rejected and you losing any chance at saving your license.
The hearing will be scheduled by the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH), usually at a courtroom within the jurisdiction where you were arrested. You or your attorney will receive notice of this meeting by mail.
What happens at the hearing?
Three things, usually:
1) One side does not show-up; the other side wins the hearing by default. If the officer does not show up then the 1205 is withdrawn and you can get your license within 5-7 business days (once the judge reports this to the DDS). It does happen sometimes, but don't count on it.
2) The parties negotiate an outcome and the 1205 is withdrawn by consent. An officer may ask you to plead guilty to a DUI at trial in exchange for you to keep your license now. Remember though, a DUI conviction will result in you having your license revoked anyway! (There are certain occasions where you may still get a limited driving permit, sometimes immediately after a DUI conviction - talk to your attorney about the best strategy.)
3) Both parties show up and can't come to an agreement... You have the hearing!
The hearing tends to revolve around three big issues (with many subsets of issues, talk to your attorney about your situation if you want to learn more). First, that the officer shouldn't have arrested you in the first place: that for any number of reasons either the stop or the arrest was improper and that your license should not be suspended because you should not have ever been arrested for DUI. Second, that something was wrong with the Implied Consent notice: that, again for any number of reasons, either the officer didn't read it right or that you never actually refused the test or consented to the test. Third, that the test was not properly administered: that something was wrong with the machines or the people who actually conducted the test that seriously calls into question the test's validity.
After the hearing the judge makes a ruling and later publishes it to the DDS. You can find the results of your hearing online 5-7 business days after the hearing. [ http://www.osah.ga.gov/get-decision.php ]
Does the hearing have any effect on the criminal case?
Not really. The officer will be sworn in and has to tell the truth, so your attorney will likely use this as an opportunity to probe into other theories that may help at trial. But the hearing cannot completely dispose of your criminal case - either in victory or defeat.
So there you have it: a basic overview of an ALS hearing. If you don't chose to have a hearing and you don't file the proper form within 10 days of arrest, then you will lose your license and privilege to drive. If you do properly fill out the form then you have a chance to get your license back for any of the reasons discussed above.
ALS hearings are one reason why it is important to get an attorney IMMEDIATELY after a DUI arrest. A good attorney will fill out the proper form and will conduct the necessary investigation to win an ALS hearing.
I am one such attorney that can win an ALS hearing. Nobody can guarantee any results, but if you hire me then I will promise you that I will work hard to get you every bit of Justice possible. Give me a call, I want to help